Bluetooth Speaker Buyers Guide
I have compressed what I believe to be the best bluetooth speakers you can buy for under $200. They’re all in the $100-$200 range, so can be classified as high end speaker units. If you would like me to do a review of some more budget level bluetooth speakers, then please let me know.
Each year, bluetooth speakers get better and better. It wasn’t long ago where a top level bluetooth speaker would be far more expensive. As they become more commonplace in your homes, the price has dropped and the technology has improved. These great little gadgets are now accessible to more people than ever. However, it is arguably more difficult than ever to choose the best bluetooth speaker for you, as there are plenty of great options out there. I have used and reviewed many different products, and these are the ones I believe are the best bang for your buck. Each of which may benefit different consumers, depending on what you want to use your speaker for.
Below is a comparison table of all the products mentioned in this article, and then I will break down each product in more depth in order to help you make a decision on your purchase. Please bare in mind that I haven’t put any of the ‘top 5’ into a specific order. All of the products I will discuss in this article are of great quality.
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This is the update to the original Bose Soundlink speaker, and a welcome upgrade it is! I had the original system, and this one really is an improvement. The most noticeable one for me was the greatly improved battery life, as well as the improved bluetooth range. I often left my iPhone which I would stream Spotify from in another room from the speaker while I would complete work. This means that I needed a decent bluetooth range, as well as a long battery, as I didn’t really pay much attention to the battery levels.
The good news is that the Bose Soundlink II far exceeded my requirements in this sense. I never had any connectivity issues, or ran out of battery unexpectedly.
The most important factor is the sound, and the Bose system obviously doesn’t disappoint. It is Bose after all! Who are well known to create fantastic sound systems. I even have a Bose sound system in my car, so I’m well accustomed to the quality that they deliver.
However, there are some negatives. If you need a speaker which is very loud, then this may not be the speaker for you, as there are speakers on this list which are louder. The JBL Charge 3 is louder than the Bose. The sound quality is going to depend on your preference, as audiophiles are never going to agree on the exact type of sound they want to hear.
As mentioned above, the JBL Charge 3 is louder than the Bose system. However, does that mean that it is better?
I would say that the JBL has less low end than the Bose, but you may be willing to sacrifice this for more volume. I would say the JBL Charge 3 is a better system to take around a loud pool party. Especially with the waterproof aspect of the JBL, which could be a deal breaker.
Another deal breaker could be the factor that the JBL is significantly cheaper than the Bose at the time of writing this article. Whether of not the price jump is worth it is questionable, and it is hard to directly make a decision for you.
My conclusion between the two would be, if you’re an audiophile who just wants a speaker in your office (for example), then get the Bose, as the audio quality is better. However, for parties, the JBL is better, as it is far louder.
The Big Blue is ever so slightly cheaper than the Bose speaker, but still quite a bit more than the JBL.
The main issue I found with the Big Blue Speaker is that the battery life is only 4.5 hours. This is FAR inferior to any of the other speakers on this list. However, this also depends on how you’re going to use the speaker. If it is going to sit in your home, always connected to the plug, then this won’t be an issue at all. However, 4.5 hours isn’t a long time if you’re going to take it to the beach, or to a party.
This speaker does have 360 degree output, which is a great feature for parties. You can stick the speaker in the middle of the garden, or middle of a room, and the sound will be pumped out throughout the area. This speaker may also be great for personal trainers who need a portable speaker to bring to their workouts…as long as they don’t last over 4.5 hours that is.
This system is quite substantial, and borderline heavy. This could be taken as being a rugged and high quality build. However, other people may prefer something a little lighter and more portable.
I am a big fan of Sony audio products. I have used their bass heavy headphones for years now, and highly recommend them for comfortable music listening. However, until now, I’d never used one of their bluetooth speakers.
Like the JBL speaker, the Sony SRSXB3 is water resistant, which means it is perfect for parties. You don’t need to worry about your mates accidentally spilling beer on it and ruining your expensive audio gear.
The Sony speaker has the best battery life of all the products on this list, which I REALLY liked. Quoted battery life is 24 hours, which really makes it great for home use in my opinion. During my testing, I would just carry it room to room as I would move from working in the office to cooking in the kitchen. The speaker is nice and small, and very portable. Although I must say, that considering the size, the quality of sound is rather impressive. It isn’t the best quality sound on this list, I’d probably give that to either the Bose or the Fluance Fi50. However, never the less, it is still incredible, and definitely one of my favourites.
In terms of price point, you really can’t complain. It is competing with the JBL, and it would be very difficult to choose between the two for me. I feel as though the JBL Charge 3 looks better, however, their specs and performance don’t set them apart that much. The battery on the Sony SRSXB3 is better, but I think I slightly preferred the JBL. But either way, you’d be making a great choice. If you’re looking for the best bluetooth speaker under $200, you may have found it. Especially if your budget is on the lower end of the $100-200 range. However, if you’re looking for something of higher quality, then read on…
The Fluance Fi50 is the most expensive speaker on this list, sitting just under the $200 limit. However, it is also arguably the highest quality product on this list by quite a distance, in terms of build quality at least. The wooden casing was something that I really liked. Especially for someone who tends to keep their speaker in the house, and doesn’t take it to parties. As I’ve mentioned throughout this article, I usually keep my speakers in the office for while I work. I keep it on a wooden shelf, which really compliments the accents on the Fluance Fi50 speaker. I had it in the Walnut finish, but you can get it in various different wood accents, which adds more options than most of the other wireless speakers on this list.
The sound quality of the Fluance Fi50 was definitely up there on this comparison list. I would say it strongly competes with the Bose system. In fact, I’d slightly give the Fluance Fi50 the edge over the Bose in terms of sound quality. However, I only really noticed the differences while playing them side by side. I feel as though you wouldn’t really be missing out on much if you chose one over the other.
The Fluance isn’t the smallest. Although, I’d say this plays into its favour. The size allows it do get more bass definition, and that is what contributes towards the sound quality it produces.
If I were to give an honest opinion, I would say that the Fluance Fi50 was my favourite of the speakers that I tested, for my own personal use. However, what I use a bluetooth speaker for obviously isn’t the same as how you may use it. I have categorised each of the speakers below:
Best Party Speaker: JBL Charge 3
Highest Quality: Fluance Fi50
Thank you for reading my article on the best bluetooth speaker under $200. I hope this has helped you to reach a conclusion. If you would like to hear my opinion on an individual speaker in more depth, then please get in contact.